Simply put, HIV infection is a disease of the immune system. It can also affect other parts of the body such as the brain or kidneys. Also, as the virus infects more immune cells they die and your body loses its ability to fight off other illnesses.
Share Your Story Many drugs have become available to fight both the HIV infection and its associated infections and cancers. More commonly, they are simply referred to as ART. Therapy is initiated and individualized under the supervision of a physician who is an expert in the care of HIV-infected patients.
A combination of at least three ART drugs is needed to suppress the virus from replicating and boost the immune system. The earliest class of ART, reverse transcriptase inhibitor drugs, inhibit the ability of the virus to make copies of itself.
The following are examples: Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors NRTIs: Protease inhibitors PIs interrupt virus replication at a later step in the HIV life cycle, preventing cells from producing new viruses. Currently, these include ritonavir Norvirdarunavir Prezistaand atazanavir Reyataz.
Cobicistat and ritonavir inhibit the breakdown of other drugs, so they are used as boosters to reduce the number of pills needed. Older PIs no longer commonly used due to pill burden and side effects include lopinavir and ritonavir combination Kaletrasaquinavir Inviraseindinavir sulphate Crixivanfosamprenavir Lexivatipranavir Aptivusand nelfinavir Viracept.
Fusion and entry inhibitors are agents that keep HIV from entering human cells. Maraviroc Selzentry can be given by mouth and is used in combination with other ARTs. Raltegravir Isentress was the first drug in this class.
Dolutegravir Tivicay is also available in a once-daily combination pill with two NRTIs, abacavir and lamivudinecalled Triumeq. ART may have a variety of side effects depending on the type of drug.
An expert in infectious diseases and HIV treatment should be consulted if the patient needs concomitant treatment for opportunistic infections, hepatitis Bor hepatitis C.
Some medications used to treat these conditions will negatively interact with ART drugs. ART reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to the fetus, and the mother may be treated by both the OB and an infectious-disease subspecialist.
Therapy can also be given during childbirth, or perinatal period, in order to help prevent HIV infection in the newborn. There are certain drugs, however, that are harmful to the baby. Therefore, seeing a physician as early as possible before or during pregnancy to discuss ART medications is crucial.
It is important to talk to your doctor before trying alternative therapies as some can interfere with the effectiveness of or cause negative effects with HIV drugs.
This is often an infectious-disease subspecialist, but may be a health-care provider, such as an internal medicine or pediatric specialist, who has special certification in HIV treatment.
All people with HIV should be counseled about avoiding the spread of the disease. Infected individuals are also educated about the disease process, and attempts are made to improve the quality of their life. The only way to prevent infection by the virus is to avoid behaviors that put one at risk, such as sharing needles or having unprotected sex.
Unprotected sex means sex without a barrier such as a condom. Because condoms break, even they are not perfect protection.
There is no way to know with certainty whether a sexual partner is infected.
Here are some prevention strategies: Abstain from oral, vaginal, and anal sex.Understanding HIV Test Results Find out what HIV test results mean—and what to do after you get the results. Just Diagnosed: What's Next? Living with HIV If you are living with HIV, it's important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.
Understanding How HIV Is Identified and How to Avoid It. How Is It Diagnosed? Because early HIV infection often causes no symptoms, a doctor or other healthcare worker usually can diagnose it by testing a person's blood for the presence of antibodies (disease-fighting proteins) for HIV.
HIV antibodies generally do not reach levels in the . Get the facts on the symptoms and signs of HIV and AIDS, find out how the virus that causes HIV infection is transmitted, and read about diagnosis, treatment, statistics, how do you get, and prevention. Acute HIV infection, also known as "primary HIV infection," is the first stage of HIV.
During the acute period of infection, the level of virus in a person's blood is very high as their body is. Soon after your diagnosis, your provider will run other tests to determine your overall health, and the condition of your immune system. For descriptions of these tests, go to Understanding Laboratory Tests.
Learn about HIV and AIDS. The more you know about HIV and how to treat it, the less confused and anxious you will be about your diagnosis. HIV treatment is most successful when you actively take part in your medical care.
That means taking your HIV medications every time, at the right time, and in the right way; keeping your medical appointments; and communicating honestly with your health care provider.